Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MBA Design Leadership elective - week 6 - User-centred design, inclusive design, participative design

This week's class started with a crit of the design of Saïd Business School. Students came to class with two examples of 'good' design and two examples of 'bad' design, from their experience as users or observations of others. Examples were drawn from the design of the building and fittings, processes and procedures, software and internet services and communications. This exercise generates a discussion about judgements about design, and the management of design in organizations.

We then moved on to discuss emerging issues in design which focus on the end user. Increasing attention is paid not just to the appearance of design artefacts, but also to utility and usability. Interface and human-computer interaction designers have been developing methods that either take a “user-centred” approach – putting the user and their perceived needs and desires at the centre of the design process; or involving end users in the design and development process – participative design, drawing on Scandinvian research and practice that emphasizes democracy in design. Inclusive design methods seek to design products and services that do not exclude users or customers (for example by making text on a phone too small to read for older people or those with poor sight). These developments provide opportunities for managers and entrepreneurs to get closer to the articulated or unarticulated needs and requirements of end users. Instead of seeing these as constraints on design and innovation, is there value in looking at these as opportunities to forge new markets, not just new products or services?

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